The country’s most promising talent in the foodservice industry took part in some of the most exciting industry competitions to date organised by The Bartenders Association of Ireland, The Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (Irish Chapter) and Chef Ireland.
Mixology masters from across the country shook up the stage at Ireland’s biggest and most influential foodservice event for three major cocktail competitions sponsored by Edward Dillon & Co. Taking first prize for the National Hospitality Student Cocktail Challenge was Finbarr Collins of Cork Institute for Technology while the 1st prize for the Create it Mix it Shake it Conceptual Cocktail Competition went to Michael O’Shea at the Marker Hotel. Finally the winner of the National Cocktail Competition 2015 who will go on to compete on behalf of Ireland and the World Cocktail Competition in Bulgaria later this year was Owen Hughes from Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, Co Mayo.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s top baristas competed in the finals of their competitions forming part of a packed schedule of events at the show sponsored by Avonmore. The Irish Latte Art Champion 2015 is Dave Regan while the Irish Cup Tasters Champion is Elvis Matiejunas. The winner of the Irish Barista Competition was Natalia Piotrowska and she will go on to compete for Ireland at the World Barista Championship in Washington in April.
Getting hot in the kitchen, the country’s most talented chefs engaged in a series of competitions (sponsored by Calor and Stephens Catering) including the Senior Duck Competition which was won by Sebastian Nowak of the Annebrook Hotel and the Fish Dish Competition which was taken by Gareth Carberry of Clontarf Castle. The College Student Competition was one by Galway Mayo IT featuring Cezary Sodel, Marek Hajdek, Shane Austin, Aisling Lee and Patrycja Sadowska. One of the newer competitions in the schedule this year was the Contract Caterers Culinary Challenge was won by Sodexo.
With the turnout far exceeding expectation the Irish hospitality industry has been buoyed by the clear demonstration of the renewed health of the sector. The event, sponsored by Bunzl and Calor included over 250 companies and over 4000sqm of an exhibitor showcase along with the staging of some of the biggest national competitions in Ireland across the chef, barista and cocktail sectors, biennial CATEX is the Industry’s biggest calendar fixture and is organized by the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance.
Speaking at the opening of the show Minister for Tourism, Trade and Sport, Mr Michael Ring TD, said: “I am delighted to be here today to be launching the CATEX 2015, this is a special landmark show this year and the interest around local and traditional food producers continues to grow. I am confident that the on-going hard work of the varied stakeholders in food tourism, matched with Government Policy can help maintain and grow the economic recovery in the tourism sector. Things are looking up in the Tourism sector and I can assure you that I will continue to work with you and to support the industry at Government level”
IFSA Chairman Sean Martin added, “We had expected a good turnout based on the early sell-out of exhibition stands but we are overwhelmed by the turnout of visitors today already. This is a very exciting and empowering time for us as an industry. Confidence in the sector has clearly grown - at menu prices the industry is worth E6billion and is set to rise to over E6.5 billion by 2017. We can finally hold our heads high and look to future with conviction”.
The Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA) was formed with the aim of establishing and maintaining a collective agreement of standards and objectives for the overall foodservice industry in Ireland. Enjoying the full support of the well-organised existing foodservice representative bodies, the objective of IFSA is to promote, develop and enhance the position of all the foodservice suppliers in the industry as not just a lobby group, but as a group that can collectively drive the whole industry forward.
For further information on the show and all winners see http://www.catexexhibition.com